no air con for country ber classrooms.

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    what a rort. for what we paid for these ber buildings should have all the creature comforts.

    paid for Taj Mahals got the bare minimum.

    Hundreds of WA classrooms being built under Federal program wont be air-conditioned.

    WA News / Barry Baker. �

    Hundreds of new classrooms being built by the Federal Government in WA will not be air-conditioned because of buck-passing between the State and Federal governments.

    Parents and schools are being left to foot the bill and are scrambling to raise enough funds.

    Under the Federal Government's "Building the Education Revolution" economic stimulus package, 503 classrooms and 37 libraries are being built in WA primary schools.

    Federal Government funding guidelines say buildings should be designed to maximise energy efficiency, including "energy efficient heating and cooling".

    A spokeswoman for Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard said this meant that new school buildings could be air-conditioned, but whether they were depended on policies that education departments or private school authorities already had in place.

    The WA Education Department's policy is to provide air cooling only to schools in the hottest areas of the State. While schools in the Kimberley, Goldfields, Pilbara, Wheatbelt regions and eastern parts of the metropolitan area are air-conditioned, schools outside that zone must use their own money to install air conditioning.

    "In hot weather we would expect teachers to use common sense, open windows and put on fans if appropriate to do so, and follow the department's health policy relating to high temperatures," infrastructure executive director James Thom said.

    Ellen Stirling Primary School P&C president Larisa Flatters said her school, in Ellenbrook, was just a few kilometres from schools on the other side of Great Northern Highway which had air-conditioning provided.

    Five new BER classrooms would not be air-conditioned but neither was the rest of the two-year-old school.

    Parents could not afford to pay $40,000 to cool the new buildings, let alone $300,000 to cover the entire school.

    Ms Flatters said students would be better off in transportable classrooms, which were always air-conditioned no matter their location, rather than those built of bricks and mortar.

    Five backbenchers have called on Premier Colin Barnett to review the policy. Darling Range MP Tony Simpson said he could not understand how the department could deem Byford and Serpentine cooler than Armadale.

    Mr Barnett told 6PR radio yesterday he did not believe air-conditioning was necessary in every school building.

    "It's not necessarily good for health," he said. "And where school buildings can be properly designed and there's adequate ventilation, it's not always needed."
    He said the Government had to balance the Budget and spend money on building more schools rather than adding to existing ones.
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